“Io is caught in a tug-of-war between Jupiter’s powerful gravity and the smaller pull from two neighboring moons,” said a post by Nasa on Instagram.
The Juno spacecraft on Saturday, completed its final close pass of Jupiter’s moon Io, marking the second such flyby after a similar one on December 30, 2023.
Io, one of Jupiter’s moons, experiences intense gravitational forces from both Jupiter and neighboring moons, leading to volcanic activity that shapes its surface with eruptions and lava lakes. The twin flybys by Juno aim to shed light on Io’s volcanic processes and investigate the possibility of a global magma ocean beneath its rocky terrain.
The spacecraft approached Io at a distance of about 930 miles (1,500 kilometers).
The Juno probe, which achieved orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016, marks the pioneering endeavor to delve beneath the planet’s thick clouds, unraveling mysteries about the gas giant and shedding light on the origins of our solar system. Currently in an extended mission phase, NASA’s farthest-reaching planetary orbiter persists in its quest for answers.
As per Nasa’ website Juno has orbited Jupiter 35 times, gathering over three terabits of scientific data.
(With agency inputs)